If I had to guess a time frame on the era of this one, I'd guess 50's or maybe 60's. It's definitely an older era story.

The story begins with an explosion aboard a human spaceship. The decompression hurls the surviving crew out into space. The crewmen are all wearing space suits, but not the propulsion harnesses that would allow them to fly about and perhaps save themselves in the zero-gravity environment. As such, each man is hurtling into the void without any ability to control where he is headed.

The protagonist, who may or may not have a name in the story, keeps in contact with some of his crew mates with his suit radio for a time. At one point, one crewman freaks out and begins screaming madly, drowning out all of the other radio traffic. As it happens, the protagonist comes close enough to the screaming man to grab him and punch in the faceplate on his helmet. He kills the man so the others can have some comfort in their final minutes or hours.

Near the end of the story, one of the crewmen tells everyone over a fading radio signal that he is being carried away by a meteor swarm. IIRC, the man is happy that he'll get to die in that way. The protagonist I believe falls into the gravity well, and then the atmosphere, of a nearby planet. He burns up in the process.

There is a scene in the final moments of the 1974 John Carpenter film Dark Star that is very similar to the story's finale, which suggests it may have been an influence. It's definitely not a printed version of the film itself, however.

  • That's the one. Apologies for the duplicate. I didn't find anything in search. And thank you! – Helbent IV Aug 19 '16 at 4:03

That story is "Kaleidoscope" by Ray Bradbury. For more information see this answer.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.